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5th grader invents contact-free way to 'trick-or-treat'

Austin Appletoft, 11, invented the 'Candy Shooter Model 20.20' for trick-or-treaters during the pandemic.

OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. — One Huntsville City Schools student is taking 'trick-or-treat' to another level by creating a contact-free way to receive candy. It's all to help people in the community have a safe and Happy Halloween.

"It's called the 'Candy Shooter Model 20.20'," says 5th grader and 11-year-old, Austin Appletoft.

This is Appletoft's biggest project yet. He accepted the challenge from his 'Gifted and Talented Education' (GATE) class. His teacher assigned him a presentation project. 

"I thought it would be good to make a project where we could hand out candy without making any physical contact," says Appletoft.

Multiple rough drafts and a few weeks of planning later, Appletoft says it took up to eight hours to build the "candy shooter". He started with the Mickie and Minnie Mouse board.

"We went on YouTube and we found out how to draw them and we scaled them up a bunch, and then we bought plastic plumbing pipes and we spray painted them orange, and wrapped them in tape," says Appletoft.

"Then we connected them to Mickie and Minnie. We cut a hole in Mickie and Minnie's mouth, then we connected them out of Mickie and Minnie's mouth and through the window," he added.

Once complete, trick-or-treaters receive the candy from the window, through the tube, and into their bucket. Appletoft's father was quite impressed.

"I think it's awesome. From start to finish the whole idea is his. And really except for going out and buying the materials and helping him cut the whole from Minnie and Mickie's mouth, he put everything together himself," says Kirk Appletoft.

"The fact that it keeps the community together is just a really cool fact," says Austin Appletoft.

Austin says in the future, he'd like to study engineering at Auburn University. 

[WATCH: See how Austin's invention works]